Mercury in CFLs: What to Do?

As is becoming more commonly known, the CFLs (compact flourescent lamps) that are fast replacing the old incandescent lights have a toxic problem: mercury. What to do? Breakage, disposal present a non trivial problem. How to change mercury into something else? Less toxic. Would selenium be the answer?

CFL Disposal

I’d like to know more about this before joining my hands in applause. Selenium, though occurring in nature, in high concentrations is toxic as hell — with many dead duck stories in contaminated waterways in California to prove it. So, walk us through the whole process: from selenium capture, to packaging, to storage, to disposal of the cloth – some without any mercury to act upon, to leaching into ground soil and water. Let’s look before we leap.

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